An emergency conservation petition has been put forward to protect red wolves in the USA after a study showed the population has declined by over 50% in the last two years. There are now only 45 to 60 red wolves living in the wild and they are threatened by hunters who mistake them for coyotes.
The species are larger than coyotes but smaller than grey wolves and they are the only wolves found completely within the United States. Trapping, shooting and poisoning has damaged their ranks as far back as the 1960s. By the 1980s, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild and the last surviving animals were gathered up and reintroduced in North Carolina in 1987.
The proposed petition requests the United States Fish and Wildlife Service increases protection for the wolves. This should be carried out by establishing two more populations of red wolves in Alabama, Kentucky and other southern states. The petition aims to close loopholes in the Endangered Species Act and upgrade the animal’s status from nonessential to essential. The change would grant reserved habitat to the wolves and open up discussions on how alteration to land would affect them.
As long as conservation groups continue to work together they’ll be able to keep the issue alive. Red wolves deserve to be protected and their habitats should be preserved.